Belgrade, 28th November 2016 – Foreign Investors Council presented the White Book 2016 to the Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, the highest officials of the Serbian Government and representatives of stakeholder community. The White Book is the major FIC product by which, year-on year, for 14 years, FIC gives recommendations aimed at supporting growth of business activities and better living standard of Serbian citizens. FIC members, who are the driving engine of the Serbian market, have invested their knowledge and expertise in this project in order to assist Serbia in creating more attractive and sustainable environment and achieving swifter integration into EU economy.
In her introductory speech FIC President Yana Mikhailova noted that "in-between two White Books the Government succeeded to execute fiscal consolidation and facilitate good economic parameters – raise in GDP and exports, at the same time making some important improvements in various parts of the business climate, most notably in real-estate. These good results give floor for high expectations for the future. FIC believes that it is essential for the new Government to keep the momentum and further accelerate structural reforms, cut bureaucracy and improve law enforcement, as well as continue harmonization with EU regulations”, Mikhailova added.
According to the latest White Book, most progress was marked in the field of real estate and 4 areas of general legal framework, such as competition and consumer protection, state aid and notaries, as well as in the sectors of telecommunications, oil and gas, and private security. Least progress was marked in taxes and labour regulations, and 3 areas of general legal framework such as forex, bankruptcy and whistleblowers regulations, as well as in the sectors of food and agriculture, insurance, and home care products and cosmetic industry.
3 main FIC expectations from the Government are to accelerate structural reforms, cut bureaucracy, improve the implementation of laws and continue harmonization of laws with EU Acquis. On the structural front, Government should invest stronger efforts to finalize privatization and corporatization of state-owned enterprises. In implementation, focus should be put on more consistent and efficient implementation of tax regulations and inspections. Harmonization with EU Acquis should concentrate on changes of foreign exchange, bankruptcy, land conversion and food safety laws, as well as on regulation of staff leasing.
At the White Book launch event, the highest Government’s officials and FIC Board members gathered in a panel to discuss ways to improve the business environment in Serbia. Opinions were exchanged between Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlović, Minister of Finance Dušan Vujović and Minister of Economy Goran Knežević, while FIC views were presented by FIC President and Regional Director of Nestlé Adriatic Yana Mikhailova, FIC BoD member and CEO of Telenor Ingeborg Øfsthus and FIC BoD member and President of the BoD of Societe Generale Bank Goran Pitić.
About FIC: FIC continues to expand, gathering over 130 companies who have invested over EUR 28.7 billion, contributed to 21.7% of GDP, 22.2% of Serbian exports, 18% of Serbian corporate income tax state revenue, and directly employ over 94,000 peoplein Serbia. The association is continuously growing – in the past year investments grew by €5.2 billion, while direct GDP share increased by 3.7% in the period of last two years, based on further growth and inflow of new members. FIC main goal is to influence the improvement of business climate in Serbia by making concrete reform proposals and building a business portal for communication with the authorities in Serbia. FIC is also focusing on promoting solid business ethics and high corporate governance principles within the organization and towards local companies, the Government, and other external stakeholders. Through support and active engagement of membership, FIC has proven to be a strict guardian of the business community interests and at the same time a reliable partner to the Government of Serbia and other relevant stakeholders.